ST. LOUIS – Missouri could soon become the first state in the nation since Roe v. Wade to have zero legal abortions.
Planned Parenthood of Missouri and state health officials who refuse to renew the clinic's license are arguing at an independent hearing in downtown St. Louis.
Cameras were allowed in the courtroom Monday as state witnesses argued why Planned Parenthood should not have its license renewed. Those witnesses included doctors and patients who had abortions.
The Missouri Health Department refused to renew the clinic's license, saying Planned Parenthood failed state standards, which includes mandatory interviews with physicians who were involved in what the health department described as “multiple life-threatening abortions.”
Planned Parenthood calls the accusation a political attack and says they do not directly employ all staff, so they cannot force them to give interviews.
“His second comment that he doesn’t know what records reflect says I would have to question the physician,” said gynecologist Dr. Donna Harrison.
If the clinic closes, Missouri would be the only state without legal abortion services. Planned Parenthood will defend its license in the coming days.
The hearing is expected to last five days. A ruling is not expected until February at the earliest.
Missouri officials have asked St. Louis police for heightened security during this week's hearings.
“Our doors are open today and they will be open tomorrow and we will continue to fight like hell to make sure that access to health care continues to be a fundamental right for women here in Missouri,” said Yameisie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood St. Louis.